Man arrested by Herts squad after Crimewatch TV appeal now faces 24 more distraction burglary charges

Steven Garrott was jailed for four years when he appeared before Judge Justin Cole at Harrow Crown C

Steven Garrott was jailed for four years when he appeared before Judge Justin Cole at Harrow Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A 23-year-old man will appear in court on Wednesday charged with 24 distraction burglaries as part of a spree which included crimes in Stevenage, Hitchin and Royston.

Thomas Hannifin, of no fixed address, was arrested in March following a BBC TV Crimewatch appeal linked to a series of burglaries made by officers assigned to Operation Manhunt, the Herts police specialist team dedicated to investigating crimes which affect the elderly.

The victims were mainly aged in their 80s and 90s, with one victim aged 94. In the vast majority of cases, the offenders are alleged to have created a false reason to gain entry to the property to steal, such as investigating a burst pipe or repairing a water leak.

Hannifin was initially charged with three burglaries and remanded in custody.

On Monday last week he was charged with a further 28 burglaries, of which 24 are distraction burglaries, and one robbery and he is due to appear at St Albans Crown Court for another hearing on Wednesday.